The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has hinted that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), may withhold assent from the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill if it is considered to have proposals based on personal interests.
According to the minister, the bill, which the National Assembly transmitted to the Presidency the second time on Monday last week, just got to him on Monday for legal advice.
Malami made this known while appearing on Politics Today, a current affairs programme on Channels Television which our correspondents monitored on Monday.
Buhari had withheld assent to the first version of the bill last year after consulting the Malami and the Independent National Electoral Commission, among others, on the bill.
When asked if he was satisfied with the amendments made to the bill by the National Assembly after Buhari sent it back to the parliament, Malami said, “In terms of satisfaction, honestly, it is premature for me to conclude, taking into consideration (that) I can admit to you that the electoral bill was only received in my office this afternoon as I was preparing to come over for this engagement with Channels TV.
“So, I have not taken steps to review the content and context of what has been presented for consideration for the President. So, it is premature and pre-emptive for me at this moment, now to arrive at any conclusion, taking into consideration that I have not gone through the document to understand what it contains and then analyse the same in accordance with the constitution and the prevailing laws.”
When asked if he loved democracy and wanted the advancement of the same, being someone who had been involved in political party activities, the minister interjected, “I am working for the advancement of democracy and the democratic system.”